MADRID’s direct rule has ended in Catalunya after the new regional government was sworn in over the weekend.
Catalunyan nationalists have regained control following the ceremony on Saturday, with Quim Torra leading the government.
The region’s autonomy was frozen in October following the pro-independence referendum, which was declared illegal by Spanish courts.
Torra, a close ally of former Catalunya leader Carles Puidgemont who is in self-imposed exile, made it clear immediately after the ceremony that the fight was not over for Catalunya’s independence.
“This government is committed to moving towards an independent state in the form of a republic,” said the separatist leader, while a crowd of nationalists outside chanted “Libertat!”.
New prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, who was also sworn in on Saturday, hopes to start fresh dialogue with Catalunya and the Pais Vasco after nationalist parties from the regions offered support during the no-confidence vote, which Sanchez led against former prime minister Mariano Rajoy.
Speaking about the opportunity for new negotiations, Torra said on Saturday: “Pedro Sanchez, let’s talk, let’s address this issue, let’s take risks, you and us.”
Catalunya’s independence is a precarious topic for Sanchez’s new government.
While the new prime minister needs to keep the nationalists happy after offering their political support, experts have warned that Sanchez cannot be seen to offer too much as it could further divide Spain and could reflect badly in the next elections.